Budgeting is a word that students are all too familiar with, from day one of first year when we’re told we need to budget our student loans and be careful with money. All the while we’re being teased with 2 for 1 cocktail offers, meal deal vouchers or discount codes left right and centre! Something we can easily do to make our money go a little further is to spend money on our weekly or bi-weekly food shops a little more wisely.
Three top tips for your next supermarket trip:
1. Choose your regular supermarket wisely
- Food prices can vary hugely between supermarkets. Try to opt for supermarkets like Aldi or Lidl if you have one nearby, otherwise, Morrisons, Tesco and Asda offer own-brand goods and deals all year round.
- Shop at local food/farmers markets and buy your fruit and vegetables loose. Buying locally means you’re not only contributing to your local economy and supporting small businesses, but it means you’re reducing your carbon footprint by choosing to buy foods that have been grown and imported locally rather than from across the country or flown from abroad. This will help you shop more seasonally too as farmers markets will offer what’s available at the time of purchase. Buying loose fruit and vegetables also reduces your plastic use too!
2. Plan your meals
- Plan what meals you want to cook for the week, opting to use ingredients that can be used in more than 1 recipe which reduces food waste.
- If you need to stick to much stricter food budget, split your student loan between how many weeks it needs to last and write down what bills you have (including rent, house bills and personal bills such as mobile phone), then with whats left, work out how much you have left to spend on food, social plans and anything else you need to set money aside for. If you have more money than needed, think about saving some in a separate bank account! It’ll help you out hugely during Christmas, Easter and Summer breaks too.
- Once you’ve allocated your monthly food budget spend, split this into a weekly spending allowance. Some students find it easier to draw the cash out for that week and leave debit/credit cards at home to avoid temptation to spend (maybe even disable Apple pay if you’re feeling brave!)
3. Build your shopping list
- Write a shopping list on paper (or use the Notes section of your phone) based on the meals you’ve planned and stick to it when you’re in the supermarket, only going to the aisles necessary for the food you need to by.
- You could use our Recipes to budget how much your meals will roughly cost you. All costs per serving are included on the recipe cards.
- Look out for ‘wonky veg’ ranges, these are fruits and vegetables that aren’t deemed the right shape or size by consumers (yet taste the same as their ‘perfect’ counterparts) and so are sold cheaper in order to reduce food waste!
- Look out for ‘reduced price’ stickers on foods in supermarkets. You could even ask your local supermarket whether they tend to put reduced food out at certain times of the day.
- Take reusable bags or a rucksack with you to reduce plastic waste and make it easier for you to carry your food home with you.
- Use reward cards that many supermarkets offer to build up points that can be cashed in for vouchers.